Biblical Philosophy of History -- By: Kenneth M. Monroe
BSac 91:363 (Jul 34) p. 317
Biblical Philosophy of History
The word “history” may designate two somewhat different concepts: a record of events or events themselves. In the widest sense “history” includes all that has happened, not merely the phenomena of human life but also that of the natural world. Modern science has revealed there is nothing absolutely static; that we live in a dynamic universe of change, therefore everything has its history, whether recorded or unrecorded by man. Fallaciously the term “prehistoric” has been employed to designate that vague and hypothetical period of beginnings, instead of the more proper expression “preliterary history.”
By ordinary usage “history” treats especially the rise, progress, and decline of communities, states and nations, with special reference to intelligence, morality, religion, social organization, economics, aesthetic development, and peace and war relations with other governments.
Of late, history has become ambitious in its desire to be considered among the sciences. If we define science as an accurate description of phenomena we are compelled to admit the historian is at a disadvantage, in that he is dependent upon sources, the reliability of which he must determine by the most searching scrutiny.
In many instances, especially before the beginning of the Christian era, the historian’s relation to his source material is as the position of the college chemistry professor entirely relying for his knowledge of certain experiments upon the testimony of high school general science students. Clearly, this is not the fault of the
BSac 91:363 (Jul 34) p. 318
historiographer, and in spite of his handicap we have today a comprehensive history from near the time of man’s appearance on this orbicular planet to the present. Generally speaking, we are satisfied to accept his facts in logical arrangement.
Historical epistemology factually discusses the rise, progress and decline of communities, states and nations with the utmost volubility, but with evident limitations and considerable difference of opinion catalogues the causes and the necessary reasons of every fact. When the pure historiographer has completed his task of recording events in their proper relation the metaphysician can begin to philosophize attempting to explain the “why” of the known “what.”
Accepting the facts of the historiographer, it is our purpose to seek out their underlying causes, and, if possible construct a causal master key which not only will unlock the “whys” of the past but which also may turn the locks of both “whats” and “whys” of tomorrow. The philosophy of history is our problem, and it is ...
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